Why is Heart Rate Important?

When your aging relative goes to the doctor, they likely have several routine checks, such as blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate. You probably know that having a normal blood pressure is important to good health and that a fever indicates illness, but do you know why heart rate is important?


Elder Care in Fairfax VA: Heart Rate Importance

Elder Care in Fairfax VA: Heart Rate Importance



Study Shows Lifespan May Be Tied to Heart Rate

A Swedish study spanning 21 years examined how a rising heart rate over time affects mortality risk. They started with a questionnaire in 1993 that was filled out by 800 men born in 1943. The participants also had a complete medical exam, including checking their resting heart rate. Their heart rates were checked again in 2003 and 2014.


Over the course of the study, 15 percent of the participants passed away before turning 71. 30 percent of them developed cardiovascular disease. The results of the study showed the following correlations between heart rate and health:

-Having a resting heart rate of 75 or higher in 1993 (at age 50) doubled the risk of developing heart disease or dying.

-Participants with a stable heart rate between the ages of 50 and 60 had a 44 percent lower chance of getting heart disease when they were in their 60s.

-The results of the study suggest that monitoring an older adult’s heart rate may provide an important indicator of heart health and cue doctors for a need to take a closer look.


More About a Healthy Heart Rate

The first step in understanding what your older family member’s heart rate is saying about their health is knowing what’s normal. According to the American Heart Association, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. However, they say that a heart rate lower than 60 isn’t necessarily a problem, either, especially if the person is taking certain medications, such as a beta blocker. People who are active and fit can also have low heart rates because their heart doesn’t have to work as hard.


Having a slow heart rate can be an indicator of the following conditions:

    • Heart disease
    • Some kinds of infections, like Lyme disease
    • Excess potassium in the blood
    • An underactive thyroid


A fast heart rate can mean:

    • Infection
    • Heart problems, like atrial fibrillation or cardiomyopathy
    • Using some medications, like an autoinjector for severe allergic reaction
    • Low potassium
    • Anemia
    • Overactive thyroid
    • Asthma or breathing problems


If your aging relative’s heart rate indicates they have a health problem, a senior care provider can assist them no matter what the diagnosis. A senior care provider can help them to follow a healthy lifestyle that can improve their heart health. For example, a senior care provider can cook meals that conform to heart-healthy guidelines. Senior care providers can also remind older adults to take medications that manage the condition.


Are you or a loved-one considering hiring Elder Care in Fairfax, VA?  Please call the caring staff at Medical Professionals On Call today. Contact: 703-273-8818






Michelle DeFilippis